* Posts by ratfox

3442 posts • joined 3 Sep 2007

French court fines eBay for sale of counterfeit handbags

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Paris Hilton


"If China can make a luxury item copy for 10$ that looks so well as the original luxury item sold 1'000$, then the original is not worth much than 10$..."

Technically, you're not only paying for quality, but also for the design, which the counterfeiters are not allowed to copy. The fact that music can be found for free on the web does not mean it is worthless.

Also, you can feel good about the fact that the bag was made by correctly-paid people in Europe rather than by children in sweatshop.

But I agree that people buying such bags are buying a status symbol more than anything else. And in the end, it is just a game to keep up with the Joneses...

Paris, because she knows all about buying expensive stuff to hide your low self-worth...

Overstock and Patrick Byrne sue New York over Amazon Tax

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Agree with Amazon

Pretending that affiliates actually mean "presence in the state" is legal trickery, IMHO.

Also, the NY state is actually threatening them to retroactively ask for all the sales tax they should have collected in previous years - that is, when they already had affiliates in NY but when it was not yet considered "presence in the state".

Technically, the state should go after the buyers who didn't report their online purchase... But of course, those people vote.

HP biased against BIOS password security

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Security onion

Of course, if each layer-making company points out the holes in the other layers, so as to be able to claim that theirs is the most important, it does not help... >_>

Apple store detains teens for installing iPhone game

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Gates Horns


"I don't know you but these days I like Bill Gates a lot more than Steve Jobs. At least Gates gives hundreds of million of dollars to research possible cures to common diseases."

The money he gives is money he earned by selling Microsoft products... In the end, it is money WE had to pay for Microsoft products... >_>

If somebody takes all your money, will that make you happy if he gives it to charity afterwards? Bill Gates is still pretty far from Robin Hood...

Optical boffins cut the cost of quantum cryptography

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@To Steven Hunter

"Traditionally, when talking about such things, Alice and Bob are the parties communicating, Eve is the name given to the EVUL N SKERRY attacker"

But do you realize how much it HURTS?


Japanese woman moves into bloke's closet

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Happens all the time in Japan

Exhibit Nr 1:


British newspaper websites liable in France for privacy invasion

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I fail to see why a British newspaper hosting a British website in UK should give a shit about French laws.

Boeing starts leak tests on nuke-nobbler raygun jumbo

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I note that the pretty video assumes for some reason that ICBM are launched from Iran...

Palm's new OS not dead, just going Nova

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My treo phone...

Works well. My biggest complaint is that I need to recharge it often.

I admit, I use few applications. The fact it works as a phone and a PDA is enough to make me happy. Like most users, I have little need for multitasking. I love the fact it groups SMSs by contacts, like MSN messenger, rather than displaying everything in chronological order.

I believe the worst problem with Palm OS is that it is such a bitch to code on.

NHS IT loses key contractor

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Health IT

From what little experience with IT project and health:

It does not help that medical doctors in charge consider they should have the last word on everything. They are so used to say: "Sorry, but I'm the doctor" that they have trouble accepting anybody else making decisions for them.

Japanese customs reunited with lost dope

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@lock your bag

If I understand correctly, you are supposed to use the kind of lock they can open without your key, otherwise they'll just break it.

Microsoft urges developers to tag sites for IE8

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@Martian Headsets

Great reading. It is worth it to read or reread his previous article, "How Microsoft lost the API war":


Written in 2004, back when Vista was called Longhorn. Some people can see the future...

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Apparently, Microsoft still believes the world should do whatever it takes to adapt to its latest product.

They seem to have decided that the strategy has worked for Vista... Probably, they were reading their own news releases about the "wide" adoption of their latest OS.

US Reapers get satnav bombs, deploy on Canadian border

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Northern Canada is huge

But currently covered with ice.

...I believe Canadians are secretly polluting as much as they can, hoping for global warming.

Mass SQL injection hits English language websites

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Indeed. It is staggering that by default, designs contain nothing to stop SQL-injections.

The problem is that databases and web sites interfaces were deliberately designed so that anybody could use them, allowing for unclear statements, unquoted arguments, etc.

Apparently, the database engineers think that user input should be sanitized by coders, coders believe it should be sanitized by the one making the web site, and that one is usually a web designer which cares more about making a cool interface than about security measures.

Hopefully, we will soon have database interfaces which disable literals by default...

Cornish lingo gets standard written form

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@Cornish is english

O RLY? Then read this:


1'539 articles... Which means that each of the 300 people wrote 5 pages. Not bad, considering there are "only" 2 millions pages in English!

Mobile phones cause bad behaviour in kids - report

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Paris Hilton


Articles like these are the reason I have lost respect for statisticians as a whole.

Nowadays, the scientific process seems to be "Find any two measurable values, show the correlation is not zero, and publish." Of course, you can make more noise if the values are hot topics. And sure, you can put somewhere in the article that maybe there are other factors. Once people are already reading your article, why not admit it is crap?

So we had a study from the 80's showing that people using their cell phone a lot were more stressed. Never mind that in the 80's, people using a cell phone a lot were business people fearing they were losing millions on the stock market.

So we have a study linking the results at school of children are better if they were breast-fed.

So we have a study linking the behavior in kids to the cell phone use of their parents.

Those examples seem benign, because it is easy to see other factors, like the fact that parents using their cell phone a lot might spend less time with their children. But too often, such results are used by politicians as "scientific studies", "proving" that cell phones are dangerous.

Those who believe these articles have scientific value would do well to read the one correlating the diminution of childbirths in northern France with that of storks.

Paris, because even she knows how children are made.

Five misunderstood Vista features

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Apples and oranges

All right, suppose XP and Vista do completely different things...

Then why is it that Microsoft wants us to replace one with the other? Wouldn't it be logical to let us choose between those completely different things?

Botnet sics zombie soldiers on gimpy websites

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Paris Hilton

All hail Bobby Tables

I said it here already, and was called stupid for giving my opinion, but it is weird that most databases engine do not already include an option making this impossible.

Apparently, H2 has an option for this, called "disabling literals". If you are a professional making an important web site, you check the option, and yes, your code is slightly harder to read. That's it.

The question is, why is there only ONE database engine with this option? I've seen an Oracle database auto-replicating on five different servers. Is this option harder to implement? Or maybe they did not have the resources to do it, because, y'know, Oracle is such a small start-up and everything?

I guess the web developers, the coders, and the database programmers have been passing each other the buck for years now...

Paris, because she knows something about getting passed from one person to the other...

Google kills Anonymous AdSense account

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Not happy about this at all

I mean, okay, Google had to do something. However, I'm sure they could have found a way to only put adds which are not paid for by the CoS. This is a really lazy solution.

By the way, I don't really like the idea that they are choosing their partners in this way... Of course, they have every right to partner with who they choose, but in their position, it's not very far from censorship. Benevolent dictators, but dictators...

And the condition is insane| "Advocacy against any individual, group, or organization"? This covers all the political blogs about Hilrack Obinton...

MySpace wins record $230m judgement against spammers

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A shame...

That these anti-spam laws are useless when the spammer is from another country...

Even if they manage to stop spammers in US, who's going to stop those who operate from Russia? Not to speak of Nigeria...

Dallas kids tracked for their own good

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What are parents doing?

Basically, there are so many ways to cheat that if it really works, it must be the children didn't need to be forced too much to go to school in the first place.

Maybe if their mother had just said: Get up and get in the bus, every morning, it would have worked too...

Why is it that you need a complex state organization for something like that? Is it the only way to make children listen?

Microsoft slams OEMs over XP SP3 install cock-up

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Gates Horns

Microsoft beta testing at its best

Alpha testing was on brand new Microsoft approved machines...

Beta testing is happening as we speak, on millions of users...

AT&T defends 'open' wireless network

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AT&T with an open network?

This is the company who tried to ban the Hush-a-phone, right?

...That's like the catholic church saying they respect homosexuality...

Sun Java chief to developers: 'We're genetic freaks'

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Indeed. My officemate was grading his students.

He had an Excel sheet with their grades for midterm

and final exam, and was filling one by one the column for

final grade, by computing the average between the two grades...

on the calculator application of the OS.

Mind you, he had a Ph.D. in math, not computer science...

Gordon Brown claims a Brit invented the iPod

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Downhill skiing??

Really? Is this coming from Wikipedia? >_>

Texas realizes Amazon is in Texas

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Actually, from what I understand, when you trade between countries of the EU, the buyer is supposed to pay the VAT of HIS country, to HIS country. The seller gets the price of the item, without VAT, and gets a refund from the VAT it paid when buying the item from its supplier. So in the end, it is only the country of the buyer who gets any tax.

This leads to the "carousel fraud", where the selling companies manages to get a refund (because they sold to a different country) but the buying companies declare bankrupt before paying the VAT they owe (because they bought from a different country)

Retailers risk libel nightmare over 'no-work' database

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Not happy about this

I understand that employers do not want to go through the hassle of lodging a formal complaint against an employee. They would lose more time than it is worth.

But if you're not confident enough to go to the police, you should not be able to put an employee on this database. Especially for something as flimsy as "Causing a loss to the company or a supplier". What does it mean?

"Oh, the sales are lower than before you arrived (which happened to be Christmas season), so you must be the cause we are losing money now. Get out, you're on the list".

If you put somebody on the list, you should be ready to show proof of the employee dishonesty (and being lazy or inefficient is NOT being dishonest) in front of a judge.

Also, the employee should be told. I understand there is a risk the employee might attempt to retaliate by burning the shop down, but it is unacceptable to make it impossible for people to find a job without their knowledge.

Swiss ponder the 'dignity of plants'

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Great to see that the government is taking up important issues

I mean, they could be wasting their time on the way chickens are bred, killed (if they survived the breeding) then eaten. Killing baby seals is tame in comparison.

-random Swiss citizen

Washington cops may be compelled to use gun-cams

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Don't miss the new documentary they released recently!

Yahoo! shareholders thump Yang in the fiduciaries

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"The Yahoo! board and its CEO are there to serve the shareholders and no one else - that is the reality of being a public company."

Is that true? Really really? Like, for real?

On the other scale of interpretation, aren't the investors funding these guys to do whatever they want, and taking the risk that what they want is not bringing back any money?

That I know, if a start-up goes under, the venture capitalists cannot sue the head of the start-up. They trusted the guy, if the trust was misplaced, that's too bad for them.

If the only thing that mattered was money for the shareholders, you would actually see undervalued companies firing all employees and selling all their assets - by themselves, without waiting for a corporate raid. How often does that happen?

The way I see it, they can vote to kick Yang out, but not sue him.

NASA confirms manned mission to 10 Petaflops

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Well, they haved a budget to use...

I doubt it is really necessary to use that much power for the mission.

But well, how else are they going to justify spending so much of the taxpayer's money?

Amazon sues New York over Amazon Tax

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The problem is that the sales tax system is way more complicated in US than it is in Europe. In Europe, there is only one sales tax system for each country, which means less than 20 different tax systems.

In US, not only does each state have a different sales tax, there are also regional peculiarities. I remember buying a Tomato juice in Gran Canyon, and finding on my bill a federal tax, state tax, and ENERGY tax. "To pay for the energy necessary to bring the tomato juice to Gran Canyon", the waitress said.

US warez sitemaster jailed for 30 months

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@copyright infrigement is not theft

I heard many time this argument that copyright infringement is not theft, because "nothing was taken". Well, even when you don't take anything, there's a load of things you need to pay for, and even if it is not theft, it is still criminal if you don't pay.

For instance, you need to pay for live concert, or for watching a movie at the theater - even though you're not "taking" anything either. You need to pay for riding a bus or a train. You need to pay hookers. In some place, you need to pay for going to university.

Maybe copyright infringement is not technically theft, but it is still illegal, and the word most closely describing the activity is theft.

I also am quite tired of the argument that if everybody is downloading the music, some people are even going to hear it by chance and say: "Hey, let's buy this stuff". I bet for everybody who does that, there's a shitload of people who will want to have it, and decide to download it instead of paying.

In case anybody is wondering, I am not an artist and I never plan to be one.

Is the earth getting warmer, or cooler?

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Paris Hilton

@Dr Stephen Jones

"As a species we're also incredibly inventive and creative. We never stop being inventive and creative. We devise economic systems that put our inventiveness and creativity all over the planet."

Huh?... Did you just imply the human species is great because we invented ECONOMIC SYSTEMS??

Shit. I've seen people admiring human arts, literature, music, possibly science and technology, but it's the first time I see somebody justifying the existence of the human species by the economic systems it devised. It is especially rich, considering how great the global economy is doing now...

Paris, because I have more respect for her than for the economic models.

ratfox Silver badge


"Scientists reached a wide consensus that [global warming is] SCIENCE!"

As a scientist, I protest against the idea that "consensus" can determine what is science.

That said, it is not surprising that we are getting different observations from different sources. It is reasonable to expect that such observations, especially on a short amount of time (only a few years) are going to differ significantly, as will the models which are built from them.

What I would like is for people to stop yelling abuse against each other every time they get different results. If we suppose earth is getting warmer by 0.6 C every year, it is normal to assume some will measure +1.2 C, and some will measure no change. Remember, science is not as exact as (we) scientists try to make it seem.

Personally, I don't doubt global warming, but I do wonder how much of it is human-made. The models are brand new and have little data to work with. Also, Earth had had tropical ages in the past, before there was any human to pollute.

Google readies for action against Dutch smut site

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Aaaaah! That's why I couldn't... Ah... Erm... Nothing nothing.

Every Italian's tax bill published online

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Why not?

I really hate companies who forbid their employees to tell each other how much they earn. Just make everybody keep secrets from each other, THAT will help morale... Also, it practically means they don't pay you as much as the guy next door, and they don't want you to find out.

Seriously, life would be easier if we didn't try to keep information from each other so much. As for the risk of identity theft, there are plenty of directories on the web giving the name and address of people. I do not really see how adding their total income or how much tax they pay is going to make identity theft easier...

Homeland Security takes pity on terror list Ted Kennedys

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Now if the terrorists were intelligent...

...They'd use the alias John Smith.

Even with the birthdate, it will still piss off a lot of people...

Governator outs Dubya's global-warming 'time bomb'

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Funny how the republicans...

...who are usually so big on empowering state governments,

are bending over themselves to say this particular issue can

only be regulated by the federal government...

Go Arnold!

Motorised meat-smoker droid vigilante patrols Atlanta

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@N C Hoffman

The cops already know there are dug dealers in your neighborhood, since they're here every night. It's perfectly useless to call them.

Jokes aside, I wonder about the legality of all this. I'm sure people are allowed to wander in the streets without being soaked in water... And as far as I know, it's not illegal to be a bum.

Department of Homeland Security website hacked!

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In a way, the curious thing is that such attacks are possible in the first place...

Would it be so hard to have a "secure" mode on the web server/database interface which automatically stops any request containing brackets or such?

I'm not in the business, but I find weird that with all the so-called "security specialists" in the world, such a simple thing as automatic sanitizing of user supplied data has not been implemented yet... or is not the default setting.

Scotland Yard pokes crooks on Facebook

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So many weapon experts here!


Eye-o-Sauron™ border beam barrier tech too crap to keep

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Maybe I should propose the next generation

I can propose another failed system which will cost much less!

Okay, I want only $5 millions, then I'll build you a camera on a stick

Oh it doesn't work? That's too bad, better luck next time

...But think that it cost you much less this time ^^

Office 2007 fails OXML test

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LaTeX is wonderful, but only if you can accept treating your letter as CODE which needs to be COMPILED, and more often than not DEBUGGED.

Of course, I use it... And it looks beautiful... But damn, user-friendly it is not. Basically, if you want to do anything special, you better pray that somebody else tried before and posted the solution on the web...

TeX is also a very interesting programming language. In the APL sense of "interesting".

PETA offers $1m for test tube chicken

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Thumb Down


Not taking too many risks, are they? A 4 years limit to MASS PRODUCE and sell at a COMPETITIVE PRICE? If it was anywhere in the realm of the possible, it would have been done long ago.

All right, here's my challenge:

- The prize is 100 billion dollars (100'000'000'000$)

- The goal is to find a way to reverse global warming

- The time limit is next Sunday

- Oh, it has to be cheap, too

US crunch hits India

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ONLY 24% more than last year

It is funny that what would be an incredible and wonderful increase in US or Europe can be so disappointing in India... The world is not yet flat.

Though it must be a real problem for them. They probably invested in prevision for a much larger growth, and find now they over-extended themselves. Still, I'll count that as a sign the world economy is NOT crashing down, whatever people in the financial sector might think.

Apple gets (slightly) less sneaky with Windows Safari play

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"Err, so that'd be the fault of the web developer not checking the site in ALL available browsers then.... not exactly the browsers fault."

I disagree with that. It is true that Safari is "mainstream" enough to be tested, but God, it's not possible to test ALL available browsers... Think Lynx, Netscape 2.0, IE 1.0...

Also, I still believe that showing web sites correctly is more the job of the guy coding the browser than the job of the guy making the website. Maybe that's like believing in Santa Claus, though...

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No paypal for them

For those who accepted and adopted the new browser, they might get surprised when they try to access PayPal:


Japan: Wii Mario Kart more popular than PSP erotica

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You'll understand when you're older, I think...

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